It’s no secret entrepreneurs have a hard time finding a balance between working and tending to other aspects of their lives, whether because of their desires to succeed, survive or the love of the job.
“It’s SO much fun and I love it, but you also don’t really get to put it down,” says Karen Anderson, owner of Mercy Vintage. “It’s all the time every day. I think about it and worry about it and work on it.”
Work-life balance is a phrase that has become part of the vernacular for anyone working in an entrepreneurial venture or business. But how do you get it right? That's the million-dollar question.
We've put together a collection of 21 work-life balance quotes and advice from entrepreneurs, owners and founders to help you answer that question.
What is work-life balance?
Employee coaching and mental health firm BetterUp describes work-life balance as “the trade-off between time spent at work and time spent on other, non-work activities.” But what does that mean?
Is work-life balance simply the ability to work or take a vacation when you want? What about the fact that many business owners and entrepreneurs are tethered to their smartphones, email and social media accounts 24/7?
If you've been struggling to run a successful business, take a look at these work-life balance quotes from business owners and founders and take inspiration from those who have likely been where you are.
General work-life balance quotes
If you try to solve too many problems at once, you won’t solve any of them properly. Vision is how business owners see the future and make a plan to get there.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
— Dolly Parton, Founder of The Dollywood Company
“If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100% from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.”
— Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder of Instagram
“I don’t think a lot of founders really want to hear this, but you set the tone from day one, so who you are is going to be reflected in the culture of the early team. So for us, that was a culture of being scrappy, but honest. Working hard, but also having that sense of balance and sort of respecting one’s life outside the office. Making it happen no matter what.”
— Julia Hartz, Co-Founder and CEO of Eventbrite
“Don’t take things too seriously. I would never de-value the importance of your business; but it’s not worth sacrificing your life for.”
— Ben Yoskovitz, Founding partner of Highline Beta
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”
— Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post, Founder of Thrive Global
“[Someone] asked me, when you’re gone would you rather have your gravestone say, ‘He never missed a meeting.’ Or one that said, ‘He was a great father.’ Holding my two kids on my lap, it was a pretty easy decision.”
— Steve Blank, seriel entrepreneur and Founder of the “Lean Startup” movement
Quotes about failure and challenging times
About 20% of small businesses fail in the first year. But setbacks can be an excellent learning experience. While most entrepreneurs struggle with the fear of failure, setting work-life boundaries can help reduce stress, become a better communicator and bring new perspectives to the business.
"While it’s tempting to grow as fast as you can in every dimension, it’s the decisions that you say no to that define who you are.”
— Nathaniel Ru, Co-Founder of Sweetgreen
“It made me more resilient, which I think is how a lot of people feel about that first real setback. It turned me into a more sympathetic person, which is more important in business than you’d think. And it just broadened my experience of the world.”
— Minnie Ingersoll, Co-Founder of Shift
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”
— Debbi Fields, Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
“Write out everything when you are feeling sad. It’s really funny to laugh at when you are feeling better. Do the opposite when you are in a great mood. Look for patterns about where, when and why you are in this mood. I wrote this out on a post-it note and try to put myself back in those places when not feeling great.”
— Noah Kagan, Founder of Sumo
Work-life balance quotes on self-care and mental health
Many entrepreneurs throw their entire heart and soul into building their businesses, some to the point where they forget to take care of themselves. But when you’re not prioritizing your own well-being, your business can suffer as a result.
“What’s not taught is self-care, especially for a business owner and people of color. If you’re not okay, there is no business.”
— Stoney Michelli Love, Founder of Stuzo Clothing
“Build a community around you and become involved in all different aspects of your profession. For the longest time, I tried to do things all by myself. But I'm finding as I started to expand my communities that I gained more information than going to someone solo.”
— Chef JRodi (Jen Rodriguez), Founder of 3 small plates
“Sometimes you have a hard day and you need like another tradesperson or somebody else who gets it. It at least makes you feel a little better, that you're not alone, and you're not crazy. It allows you to laugh things off instead of feeling down on yourself or angry. So it's definitely been a good, good thing to find a community through all the pressure.”
— Lindsay, Owner of ATX Painting
“When we lack boundaries, we take on things we don’t have capacity for. We get or stay trapped in draining relationships and difficult situations. That brings on anger, burnout, stress, and fatigue — leaving us feeling depleted, which can impact everything from our output at work to our finances to our physical health.”
— Minaa B., Founder and CEO of Minaa B. Consulting Inc.
“I would always spend time meditating. When I get into my head, and I start feeling overwhelmed, I breathe. I practice deep breaths, and tell myself, ‘I am successful. I will sign new clients. You are a great entrepreneur. You're a great trainer.’ And I just keep chanting those things over and over in my head as I meditate.”
— Dominique Edomwande, Founder of B.L.U.E 21 Training
“I'm a huge believer in the importance of vacations for leaders, entrepreneurs, and everyone else. I work extremely hard - usually 70+ hours a week.”
— Brad Feld, serial entrepreneur
Hard work and burnout quotes
Entrepreneurs are often described as go-getters, grinders and hustlers. While hard work can help you grow a business, learn from these work-life balance quotes so you don’t burn out.
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”
— Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr
"Burnout is about resentment. [Preventing it is] about knowing yourself well enough to know what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful."
— Marissa Mayer, Founder of Sunshine
"I needed to take responsibility for my own burnout and make sure it’s actively managed, like a KPI of the company — and try to do the same for my team."
— Steve El-Hage, Co-Founder and CEO of Drop
“Different people manifest burnout in different ways, but I think for all of us, it’s some variety of a shutdown. Burnout is deadly to startups because it kills perspective."
— Roli Saxena, Co-Founder of the LinkedIn Women’s Network
“You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.”
— Andrew Wilkinson, Founder of Metalab and Co-Founder of Tiny
How NEXT can give business owners peace of mind
It can be difficult to strike the right balance between work and life, especially when you're a small business owner. It's not just hard work that gets in the way, but also the day-to-day stress of running your startup and meeting payments to keep it afloat.
One easy way to get the peace of mind that comes with work-life balance is to protect yourself with small business insurance. NEXT provides insurance for more than 1,300 small business professions, from retail stores to restaurants and more, so you can rest assured knowing that your assets are protected.
Our live U.S.-based insurance experts are ready to help you.